Exhibition of national treasures: Effective cultural diplomacy

14:43 | 09/03/2017 Culture & Art

(VEN) - A bronze drum cast more than 2,000 years ago, and a manuscript written almost 100 years ago, are among 18 national treasures being exhibited together for the first time at the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hanoi. These valuable heritage objects carry messages from the past and reflect the quintessence of Vietnamese history and culture.  

The special exhibition, which opened January 10 and runs till May, describes how the objects were discovered or excavated and handed over from one generation to the next. Examples include the “Sac menh chi bao” golden royal seal made in the 8th year of the rule of Emperor Minh Menh (1827). The seal was cast in the shape of a dragon and symbolized the power of the Nguyen Dynasty. Another treasure is the Dao Thinh bronze jar, a relic of the Bronze-age Dong Son culture of ancient Vietnam. This is the largest-sized and most sophisticated jar in terms of design among hundreds of objects of this type found in Vietnam.

Displayed in the center of the exhibition hall is the famed Ngoc Lu drum accidentally discovered in 1893 in Ha Nam Province. The remarkably well preserved and richly decorated artifact from the second or third century BC is the most intact Dong Son drum ever discovered in Vietnam. The decorative patterns describe contemporary activities such as parading, singing, drum beating, rice pounding, and donation rituals. Another treasure is a bronze lamp made in the shape of a kneeing man, a relic of the Bronze-age art of lamp making in the Dong Son period.

The exhibition is not only about Vietnam’s distant past. The original copy of the book “Duong Kach Menh” is an object of special historical value. According to researchers, Nguyen Ai Quoc (President Ho Chi Minh) wrote the book of revolutionary thinking in Guangzhou, China, in 1927.

Revolutionary Nguyen Luong Bang smuggled it into Vietnam but was arrested and the book was confiscated. It was kept at the Supreme Court of the French in Hanoi until the capital was liberated, and was found by a veteran who used to work at the court. The writings served as the bedrock of the early generations of Vietnamese revolutionaries. Researchers have compared it to Lenin’s iconic work of revolutionary theory, “What is to be done”, which influenced the development of socialism in Vietnam.

Dr. Pham Quoc Quan, a member of the Vietnam National Cultural Heritage Council, believes this special exhibition will encourage localities and other museums nationwide to register more objects to be recognized as national treasures. He believes this, in turn, will promote Vietnamese cultural and historical heritage at home and abroad.

Vietnam’s national treasures and antiquities will also be put on display overseas in an effort to promote Vietnamese culture and history worldwide. Quan sees this as an effective form of cultural exchange and diplomacy. He believes overseas exhibitions of Vietnamese treasures and antiquities will be warmly welcomed and highly appreciated.

The 18 national treasures are displayed with the effects of 3D technology and modern lighting techniques. Pictures of the objects are also enhanced to show viewers the clearest possible details. There are also video clips of interviews with experts explaining the value of these national treasures.

Quynh Hoa